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Hard and fast rules on new CPR could help save a life

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Frank Schultz
May 5, 2013

— 1. Call 911.

2. Push hard and fast on the center of the chest.

Thatís how the American Heart Association describes the new CPR.

Itís not that simple, but itís fairly simple, as many people learned at the Janesville Mall on Saturday from the staff of St. Maryís Janesville Hospital.

Knowing what to do could be the difference between life and death, said nurse Kim Kempken, the hospitalís emergency department director.

The main thing is, mouth-to-mouth is no longer recommended for cases of heart stoppage. Studies have shown that chest compressions alone save more lives.

Letís restart the count:

1. You need to see the person fall, Kempken said. The compression-only technique only works if thereís still oxygen in the heart and lungs.

If you donít know how long the person has been down, just call 911. The emergency operator will tell you what to do, Kempken said.

2. This is for adult-sized people only. Children donít suffer from heart stoppage, Kempken said.

Itís also not for drowning victims. You need mouth-to-mouth for that, to get air into the water-filled lungs, Kempken said.

3. Call 911 before you do anything because you need the emergency responders. Youíre going to be pumping the personís heart. Itís hard work, and you canít stop.

The Janesville Fire Department has a goal of arriving in three to four minutes, said nurse Mandie Busser.

4. Make sure youíre in a safe place, with the victim flat on his back on a firm surface.

5. Find the center of the chest. You need to be pushing down on the heart.

Kempken has a surefire way of telling how high on the chest: ďItís at the nipple line.Ē

6. But how fast is fast? Thatís also simpleódo it to the beat of the Bee Geesí disco hit ďStayiní Alive.Ē

For those who havenít heard the song or seen ďSaturday Night Fever,Ē thatís about 100 beats a minute. Itís fast.

7. How hard? Pretty hard. You need to compress the chest by 2 inches and then release the pressure so the heart can reinflate for your next push.

Youíll know,Ē Kempken said when asked how hard is hard enough.

ďYouíll break ribs, but the alternative is, theyíre dead,Ē Kempken said.

8. How long? Donít quit when you see the emergency vehicle arrive, Kempken said.

ďYouíre going to do this until somebody says, ĎIím here. Iím going to take care of this,íĒ she said.

The offer of a quick, free lesson on a CPR dummy drew plenty of attention at the mallís center court.

ďMy wife insists we need somebody to tell us to do it correctly so her husband doesnít misinform her,Ē said Dick Eldredge of Janesville, with a twinkle in his eye.

Eldredge and his wife, Nancy, both learned the technique in the space of about five minutes.

Nancy said they wanted to learn how to do it properly, especially how hard to push.

Dick said they had challenged their friends on Facebook to learn as well.

Elizibeth Francis of Janesville said she learned for her children. Her 6-year-old son has a heart condition.

Busser told Francis that the technique wasnít for children.

Nevertheless, ďIím glad I did this. Now I feel better about it,Ē Francis said.

Bob Swenarski, emergency preparedness administrators at the hospital, said the more people who learn the new CPR, the better.

Thereís nothing worse than the EMTs getting there and people are standing there looking at their loved one,Ē he said.



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